Grain Statistics Weekly turns 100
Join the Canadian Grain Commission as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Grain Statistics Weekly! The first report was published in early January 1921. Since then, it has helped document the history of the Canadian grain sector by providing important and transparent information to all those who work in Canadian agriculture.
Go back in time and see some of the key milestones that have shaped the Grain Statistics Weekly reports over the past century.
The first known issue of the Grain Statistics Weekly report was published by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics (known today as Statistics Canada) in January 1921 for the week ending January 7, 1921. The report was called “Canadian grain statistics” and was quite detailed for the era.
This new report helped those in the grain sector to see the transparent movement of grain in the Canadian grain sector and helped with the selling of grain. Most of the statistics in these early issues are still included in today’s reports, although in tonnes instead of bushels. The full version of this report is available in Government of Canada archives.
On October 21, 1950, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics (known today as Statistics Canada) decided to change the name of the publication. After nearly 30 years, the publication name was changed from Canadian grain statistics to the name as we know it today: Grain Statistics Weekly. The full version of this report is available in the Government of Canada archives.
After over 40 years of publishing the Grain Statistics Weekly report, on May 29, 1968, the Dominion Bureau of Statistics (known today as Statistics Canada) announced to subscribers that, due to a “reduction in government expenditure,” the Grain Statistics Weekly report was being discontinued. A full version of the report, which includes this announcement on the final page, is available in the Government of Canada archives. After the Grain Statistics Weekly report was discontinued, we continued to publish the Canadian Grain Position reports, which still offered some statistics for the Canadian grain sector.
The Grain Statistics Weekly publication had been dark since 1968 when our Economics and Statistics Division began publishing it out of our office in 1971. We were already setup to receive the information necessary for the Grain Statistics Weekly reports because of the help we provided to the Dominion Bureau of Statistics for their publications and the information we already included in our Canadian Grain Position publications.
Taking over the publication of the Grain Statistics Weekly report from Statistics Canada helped maintain the transparency and accountability to the Canadian grain sector that had been missing since the publication was discontinued. Unfortunately, the statistics do not exist during the period the publication went dark.
Our Economics and Statistics Division moved into their new office in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At the time, we were the only Government of Canada department that was not headquartered in the National Capital Region. In this office, the statistics team used technologies like tape drives and card punches to help work on the Grain Statistics Weekly reports, along with other reports.
These new technologies helped us compile and consolidate information from the many companies and delivery points across Canada. It also helped reduce human error and freed up employees’ time to check for errors in the reporting.
In 1985, we released the first bilingual version of the Grain Statistics Weekly, called Statistiques hebdomadaires des grains in French. The English and French text were adjacent to each other in these publications. With the report being available in both official Canadian languages, it helped make the document accessible to more Canadians and is compliant with the Government of Canada’s Official Languages Act.
By July 1998, we made the leap into the online world and began offering the option for subscribers to access the Grain Statistics Weekly publication online or by mail. The online option, which subscribers could access by setting up a username and password, was a cheaper option for subscribers as it cut down on printing and mailing costs. Both options were available until the print publication was discontinued in 2001.
The new web version gave those in the grain sector the option to access the report in the way that best suited their needs.
Until 2006, those who wanted access to the Grain Statistics Weekly report had to sign up for a subscription to receive the report every week. On August 1, 2006, we began publishing the report on our website for free to be accessed by anyone. With the report now being offered free of charge, it made the Grain Statistics Weekly information accessible to everyone without barriers. We began to see even more people using the report, including international buyers.
The Grain Statistics Weekly report underwent an overhaul in 2012, which involved many experienced staff members retiring and new employees being hired and trained. Data from grain accounting systems was also replaced by elevator reporting because of amendments to the Canada Grain Act. This was also the last year that the Grain Statistics Weekly report was available as a PDF on our website.
Another significant change was the Canadian Wheat Board Act being repealed, which caused some regular publications to go dark, including the vessel line-up report published by the Canadian Ports Clearance Association. With some of these reports no longer available, more people in the Canadian grain sector turned to us for data on the movement of grain.
In 2013, we unveiled a new Grain Statistics Weekly report format, which is still used to this day. The report became available in spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel) and dataset (CSV) formats.
This change was to help meet the Government of Canada’s open data initiative, which focuses on making sure government documents are freely available and easily accessible to all Canadians (spreadsheet format) and machine readable (dataset format).During this year, we also expanded our reporting to include all Canadian commodities reported by Canadian Grain Commission licensees.
Happy birthday to the Grain Statistics Weekly report! January 2021 is the Grain Statistics Weekly’s 100th anniversary. This report has gone through many changes over the years but has also stayed the same in many ways.
Grain Statistics Weekly is important for many in the agriculture sector because of the different information it provides, like producer deliveries, stocks, exports and domestic disappearance. It remains an essential report for those involved in the Canadian grain sector and it helps to keep the sector transparent and accountable.
What others have to say
The Grain Statistics Weekly reports have been used by the Canadian grain sector for the past 100 years. Here’s what some in the industry had to say about their experience with data published by the Canadian Grain Commission.
“Canadian Grain Commission data provides the underpinning of much insight within our organization. The industry connection that CGC staff has ensures better data quality and control.”
“No one else provides the level of detail or the timeliness of the Grain Statistics Weekly.”
“This is simply the most reliable weekly data source in Canada dealing with grain movement.”
“We use Canadian Grain Commission grain statistics and information for transparency into the Canadian agriculture industry. This data forms the basis for accurate reporting. This data is so valuable to me. It's generally the most timely and specific information of its kind for Canadian crops.”
Share your stories
Do you have an experience with the Canadian Grain Commission’s Grain Statistics Weekly reports that you’d like to share with us? Email our Statistics and Business Information team with your stories!
- For more information about grain statistics, contact Statistics and Business Information.
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